The Parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has summoned the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi over operations in Bank of Uganda (BoU).
The committee chaired by Mubarak Munyagwa on Tuesday hit a stalemate after BoU deputy Governor, Louis Kasekende failed to produce a letter from Muhakanizi allegedly ‘appointing’ Governor, Emmanuel Mutebile as accounting officer of the Central Bank.
The MPs wondered if BoU actually has the accounting officer who controls and accounts for funds. Appearing before the committee, Kasekende said that they have a letter from PSST-Muhakanizi giving powers to the governor as the accounting officer. However, when asked to produce the letter, Kasekende asked for more time to look for it.
“Most government agencies have accounting officers, but Bank of Uganda has no accounting officer. Imagine the Governor is the chairman of the same board that is supposed to supervise him. That is why we have called PSST to tell us if BoU has an accounting officer because we are tired of a situation where you want to apprehend the governor or deputy and he says he is not the accounting officer,” Munyagwa said adding the Central Bank uses this gap as a leverage to squander public funds.
Kasekende in his defence said that whereas it is true that Bank of Uganda does not have the powers to appropriate funds for itself, the bank is allowed to spend monies received as the profits before it is deposited to the consolidated Account.
Section 16 of the Bank of Uganda Act states that, “any net profits or losses from the bank’s operations shall be shared between the bank and the Government in respective proportions of 25% and 75%.”
“Several Auditor General’s reports have made recommendations to streamline their operations, but they continue to act with impunity. We are going to interrogate who has accountability role at BoU and the PSST will help us tomorrow (Wednesday),” Munyagwa added.
Article 161 of the Constitution says that the authority of the Bank of Uganda shall vest in a board which shall consist of a governor, a deputy governor and not more than five other members- all to be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament. At the same time, the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 gives the Secretary to the Treasury powers to appoint or designate accounting officers.